SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has acquired three works by Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses. Donated by the Kallir family in memory of Otto Kallir, the works include Out for Christmas Trees, 1946, Grandma Moses Goes to the Big City, 1946, and Turkeys, 1958, which depict the artist’s humble and joyful lifestyle as a farmwife.
Born in 1860, Moses is renowned for her youthful spirit and “old-timey” style in a time where women artists were not widely recognized. “Historically, women artists have too often been overlooked, and this is an issue particularly acute among self-taught artists, whose work was often lost before it was ever appreciated,” says Leslie Umberger, the museum’s curator of folk and self-taught art. “Moses was a notable exception; her work was appreciated and cared for, and she became both an American icon and a market success during her lifetime, a rarity on several levels. Both her story and her art are truly remarkable.”
Turkeys and Out for Christmas Trees provide nostalgia for the all-american holiday season and shows Moses’ background as a farmwife in a rural town. Grandma Moses Goes to the Big City serves as a commemoration of the artist’s first time visiting Newyork City and provides a taste of her youthful spirit.
The museum’s Margaret and Terry Stent Director Stephanie Stebich says, “The Smithsonian American Art Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the American experience, and Grandma Moses is a key part of this story.the Kallirs’ generous gift allows the museum to share Grandma Moses’ unique style and subjects across the arc of her career for the benefit of the public who had long been fascinated by this American original.” The newly acquired works will be shown in the fall of 2023 in a major traveling exhibition along with seven of her other pieces.
Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961), Grandma Moses Goes to the Big City, 1946. Oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum, © Grandma Moses Properties, Gift of the Kallir Family in memory of Otto Kallir.
Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961), Out for Christmas Trees, 1946. Oil on pressed wood. Smithsonian American Art Museum, © Grandma Moses Properties Co., New York, Gift of the Kallir Family in honor of Hildegard Bachert.